Astana team denies links with doping doctor Ferrari

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Astana cycling team denied any association with Michele Ferrari on Monday following media reports that Danish rider Jakob Fuglsang is being investigated for links with the banned doping doctor who previously worked with Lance Armstrong.

According to Danish media, Fuglsang is suspected by the governing body of cycling of taking part in a doping program designed by Ferrari.

Citing a “secret report” from CADF, the cycling body’s anti-doping unit, the Politiken newspaper also reported that Astana teammate Alexey Lutsenko attended a meeting between Fuglsang and Ferrari.

“The team does not collaborate with any suspicious doctor, such as Dr. Michele Ferrari,” said Astana, the team run by former pro rider Alexandre Vinokourov. “The riders are not authorized to consult any doctors external to the team in order to perform any activity, or to be prescribed any diet or treatment, related to their performance.”

Like Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping, Ferrari was banned for life by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Ferrari is not allowed to consult with athletes.

Astana denied any wrongdoing.

“For the time being, no procedure has been initiated against any rider affiliated to the team,” Astana said in a statement. “The Astana Pro Team trusts that if the CADF had any evidence of wrongdoing by any rider of the team, disciplinary proceedings would have been immediately initiated in accordance with anti-doping regulations and the World Anti-Doping Code.”

In a message to The Associated Press, the International Cycling Union said it was aware of the media reports but did not receive any notification from the CADF “in order to initiate proceedings against the individuals and the team mentioned.”

The 34-year-old Fuglsang has been on the Astana team since 2013. Politiken, one of Denmark’s largest newspapers, noted the Dane had made “noticeable progress” in 2019.

Fuglsang enjoyed one of his most successful seasons last year where he won the Tour of Andalucía, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Critérium du Dauphine and a stage at the Spanish Vuelta.